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PHOTO GALLERY: Berry workshop held at Jefferson Farm and Gardens

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 | 8:27 p.m. CDT
Almost-ripe arapaho blackberries glisten in the hot sun at Jefferson Farm and Gardens. The Beginning Farmer Program sponsored a workshop on berry growing and marketing. Attendees of the workshop came from all corners of Missouri and even Illinois, as Dale Getty traveled from Chester, Ill., about 60 miles south of St. Louis. "I'm trying to find a way to maximize my return," Getty said about adding berries to his 200 acre farm.

COLUMBIA — With berry season in full swing, the Beginning Farmer Program sponsored a workshop on berry growing and marketing Tuesday and Wednesday. The workshop included lectures held at MU's Bradford Farm, in-the-field tasting and exploration at Jefferson Farm and Gardens and a visit to a private U-Pick berry farm in Columbia.

Participants in a berry growing and marketing workshop sponsored by the Beginning Farmer Program listen to Jefferson Farm's horticulture specialist Catherine Bohnert give a brief lecture about growing blueberries on Tuesday at the Jefferson Farm and Gardens in Columbia. Bohnert explained that the bushes on display at the farm are of varying sizes because of the plant's age at original planting, as well as some that needed to be replaced in the last year. "Some plants heaved out of the ground in the winter and dried up," she said, "so we had to replant." The new bushes are notably smaller than the older, more hearty ones.
Gary Miller, an attendee of the berry growing and marketing workshop sponsored by the Beginning Farmer Program, displays two Japanese beetles munching away at a Foch grape leaf on Tuesday at Jefferson Farm and Gardens. Although the beetles had not been a major problem in the past, according to Jefferson Farm's horticulture specialist Catherine Bohnert, they have been slowly showing up more this year.
Margaret Scott, left, inspects another berry bush at the Jefferson Farm and Gardens while Lonnie Overby tastes some of the Cara's Choice blueberries growing on Tuesday as part of a workshop on berry growing and marketing for new farmers sponsored by the Beginning Farmer Program. Overby has not grown berries on her farm before, but traveled from Oldfield, Mo., to attend the workshop. "So far, this is my favorite," she said about the Cara's Choice blueberries, "but I liked the Patriot, too."
Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist for the University of Missouri Extension, explains to participants in the berry growing and marketing workshop sponsored by the Beginning Farmers Program the difference between the way various kinds of blueberries grow. He focused specifically on the ratio of leaves to flowers - and eventually fruit - in order to balance yield with retention of the plant for the next season.

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